The Prophecy Faeries 2: Imagen's Revenge - Part Three
PART THREE: THE MEETING
That morning, Hortensia, Clarisse, Victoria, and Bernadette all had Magic History class together. Magic History was one of the only classes that all types of faeries were required to take, and the only class all four friends had together.
As the class took their seats, Clarisse glanced at their newest substitute teacher, a bespectacled water faerie called Professor Briani. Since Hentoff had never recovered from the battle a month earlier, Magic History had been taught by a succession of substitute teachers for the past month. Professor Briani, while more entertaining than Professor Hentoff, was nonetheless not nearly as knowledgeable or as capable.
The four friends listened as Professor Briani instructed them to pull out their textbooks and read. Bernadette, growing bored instantly, pulled out her pencil and began to doodle absently on her textbook.
She had covered an entire page with doodles when there was a knock on the classroom door, and it swung open abruptly. Principal Petrici, a fire faerie, strode briskly into the classroom.
“Sorry to interrupt, Professor,” she said, “but I need to see Hortensia, Clarisse, Bernadette, and Victoria right away. It’s quite urgent.”
“Of course,” said Professor Briani, looking curiously at the four friends, who instantly grabbed their books and stood up. The rest of the class whispered curiously as the four faeries hurried out of the classroom after Petrici.
“What’s going on?” asked Victoria and Bernadette at the same time, while the five faeries hurried up the hall.
“Queen Fyora has summoned you to her palace,” Petrici explained. “Something is happening in Meridell.”
“What do you mean? What’s happened?” asked Clarisse.
“We can’t speak of it here,” said Petrici. “I’m sure Her Majesty will explain everything to you when you get there.”
“I wish we could get rid of these books,” Victoria muttered, looking at the immense stack in Hortensia’s arms, “but we don’t have time to get to our dorm.”
“I would take them for you,” said Petrici, “but Queen Fyora has requested that I accompany you to the palace.”
Clarisse glanced at Hortensia, reading the thoughts in Hortensia’s mind. Since Hortensia was too shy to speak her idea aloud, Clarisse said it for her. “Hortensia’s sister Elesempra is in a class just up the hall. Why don’t we leave the books with her, and she can take them to our rooms?”
“Good idea,” Bernadette agreed.
“I’ll take them to her,” offered Petrici. “Run out the main doors, there’s a royal carriage waiting. I’ll meet you there.”
They thanked her and handed over their books. Hortensia handed Petrici a room key to give to Elesempra and told Petrici which class she was in. Then the four of them sprinted away towards the main doors.
Petrici continued up the hall to the class Hortensia had mentioned. She knocked on the door, apologized for the interruption, and set the books on a table before calling Elesempra out into the hall.
“Your sister and her friends have been called away to the Palace on short notice,” Petrici explained. “It would be very helpful if you could carry their things to their dormitories for them.” When Elesempra agreed, Petrici gave her Hortensia’s room key and sent her back into class. The fire faerie then raced down the hallway to the main doors, breaking the school rule about running in the halls, which she strictly enforced under normal circumstances.
When Elesempra returned to class, Melody, who sat in the desk beside her, leaned over to whisper in her ear. “What was that about?” she asked, looking innocently curious.
“I have to take my sister’s things to her room,” said Elesempra. “She and the other prophecy faeries have been called away to the palace on short notice.”
“Can you carry all those books by yourself?” asked Melody, looking at the pile of books Petrici had placed on the table. “Harmony and I can help you.”
Truthfully, Elesempra wasn’t sure how she could carry the books of four other faeries in addition to her own, so she thanked Melody and accepted her help.
After class, Melody and Harmony helped Elesempra gather up the books, and Elesempra led the way to her sister’s dormitory. As she opened the door with the key Petrici had given her, she didn’t see the twins exchange gleeful looks.
Elesempra pulled open the door, and the three faeries hurried into the dormitory shared by Hortensia and Victoria.
“Let’s see,” Elesempra mused, “these books are Tenny’s, and those look like Victoria’s, so they stay in here,” she directed. She recognized Hortensia’s desk because it was extremely neat, and small plants grew in pots along the windowsill beside it. Placing Hortensia’s books upon it, she turned around to see Harmony rushing across the living space into the other bedroom. Melody, meanwhile, was placing the books Elesempra had identified as Victoria’s on the second desk in the room.
“Wow, this is a cool room,” said Harmony. “Have you ever spent any time in here, Ella?”
“Not much,” Elesempra said honestly. “I think Tenny gets embarrassed when I’m around her friends.”
“So, how much do you know about them anyway?” asked Melody innocently. “What are they like?”
“You’re so lucky to be related to a celebrity,” added Harmony. As Elesempra looked away from her, Harmony studied the room intently. She wasn’t exactly what she expected to find, but she was hoping they would find something useful to tell Drake about.
“Well, I know them a little,” Elesempra was saying. “I mean, Clarisse spends summers and holidays away from school at our house sometimes.”
“Really?” said Melody. “That’s so cool. So, can she really do everything that people say she can? Read minds and stuff?”
“I’m not sure exactly,” said Elesempra. “She’s never talked to me about her powers, so I don’t know exactly what she can do.”
“Can she see the future?” asked Melody eagerly.
“I think so, but nobody ever talks about it.”
“Why not? Is it some kind of secret?”
“I don’t really know. My sister never talks about it, and neither does Clarisse.”
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to ask Clarisse about it ourselves,” said Melody. “Come on, let’s go,” she called to her twin, barely masking the disappointment in her voice.
Harmony stepped from the other bedroom into the living area. She was about to leave when suddenly she stopped short and turned around. She had just passed by the bathroom door, and seen the poster tacked to it.
“What’s this?” she asked, unable to keep the excitement from her voice. Elesempra was becoming suspicious of the twins’ behavior, but she came over to take a look, closely followed by Melody.
When Melody saw the poster, she became just as excited as her twin. Drake had told them a little bit about Khorianna’s prophecies and what one might look like; they both instantly recognized it.
“We should go,” Elesempra said quickly, aware that their behavior was far more than simply curious.
“Let me just copy this down,” said Harmony quickly, pulling a piece of paper and pencil from her school bag.
Melody grinned and said smugly, “I’m sure Drake will be very interested to see this.”
The royal carriage that Fyora had sent flew magically on its own, with only a little steering from its driver. Once the five faeries were inside, the driver steered the carriage towards Faerie City. In a matter of minutes, it landed before the large steps of the palace.
They were quickly escorted into the palace and led down a maze of corridors leading to Fyora’s conference room. A guard admitted them to an empty waiting room. They sat on the couches for a few minutes while Fyora was notified of their arrival.
“A different welcome from the first time we were here,” commented Bernadette. “There aren’t even any guards chasing us this time.”
“Or crazed faeries throwing us in the dungeons,” added Clarisse, referring to Fyora’s previous assistant.
“Apparently saving Neopia gives you a free pass to the palace,” joked Victoria.
When they were finally summoned into the conference room, Petrici was asked to stay in the waiting room, for Fyora wanted to speak to the four friends privately before she spoke with Petrici.
Once everyone was seated at the massive table, Fyora began their meeting.
“I’ve called you here today because I’ve received some disturbing reports from Meridell and Brightvale. My spies there have reported several sightings of a shadow Eyrie who looked peculiarly similar to Imagen. He’s been spotted lurking in both Meridell and Brightvale, though no one is sure exactly what he’s up to. Most disturbing of all, he has been seen associating with several magicians in Meridell.”
“Sounds like he’s plotting something,” said Bernadette. “But if you know where he is, why can’t you just arrest him?”
“I don’t know where he is,” Fyora clarified. “All of my spies across Neopia were told to be on the lookout for reports of a mysterious shadow Eyrie sorcerer. Civilians in Meridell and Brightvale report seeing him in various locations, but by the time my guards arrive there he has already vanished. He’s proving far more elusive than we had anticipated.”
“Any guesses about what he’s planning?” asked Victoria.
“It’s too soon to tell,” said Fyora. Clarisse sensed that she was lying, but Fyora’s powers were strong, and Clarisse was unable to read her mind and uncover what she was really thinking.
“So, what do you want us to do?” asked Bernadette.
“I have been informed that some of the magicians he was seen with have suddenly begun attending the Faerie Magic Festival, which is being held in Meridell until the end of the month. I strongly suspect that Imagen has paid or bribed these magicians in some way, and they are attending the Festival on his orders. Unfortunately, only faeries or magicians can gain entrance to the festival; since my spies are not magicians or faeries, they cannot attend to see what the magicians are doing there. I need the four of you to attend the festivals and follow the magicians. This may give us a clue as to Imagen’s plans.
“You will need to remain inconspicuous, so I recommend that you travel in pairs, and pretend not to know each other. I know that you usually insist on being together, but I feel that separating you is necessary in this case,” she said, anticipating their reaction to her suggestion.
“We’re often outnumbered and overpowered when we separate,” protested Clarisse, “and we work with each other. We need to at least communicate with each other, and be able to aid each other in case of attack.”
“I’ve given this some thought,” said Fyora, “and I have a solution.” She produced four small hand mirrors from thin air and passed them out to the faeries. “These mirrors will allow you to communicate with one another over any distance. Just speak the name of the person you wish to speak to, and your images will appear in each others’ mirrors, and you will be able to speak to each other.”
“What if one of us is attacked? How will the others get there in time?” asked Victoria.
“I know that Professor Hentoff gave all four of you good luck charms,” said Fyora. “I can place a spell on them that will allow you to be instantly transported to wherever one of your friends is located.”
Clarisse glanced around at her friends, sensing their emotions. When she was certain that they all agreed with Fyora’s plan, she spoke for the group and said, “All right. What will we do at the festival, exactly?”
“As you probably know, Faerie Magic Festivals focus on new developments in faerie magic, as well as spells that have yet to be discovered. Faeries from all over Neopia, as well as some magicians who study magic, attend the annual festival to learn about any magical breakthroughs in the past year. If Imagen is bribing magicians to attend the festival, he must be expecting to learn something there.
“You will need to travel around the festival, acting like ordinary faeries. My spies will give you the names of the magicians we’re looking for, as well as a description of their appearance; your job will be to follow them and find out what they’re doing at the festival. We’ll need to know everything—where they go, who they talk to, what they’re interested in.
“And of course, keep an eye out for Imagen. He might try to sneak into the festival using an alias, but most likely he will avoid it and rely on the information given to him by the magicians.”
“Why can’t you just catch these magicians and question them yourself?” asked Bernadette.
“I’m afraid that if Imagen realizes that I have learned so much about his whereabouts, he will flee before we can capture him, and he will devise a new plan. I feel that the best thing to do is uncover his plan, in secret, and then devise our own plan to capture him in the act,” Fyora explained.
“How will we report back to you when we find anything?” asked Victoria.
“I have a mirror of my own, so you will be able to use your mirrors to contact me,” said Fyora. “When we think we’ve discovered everything we can from the magicians at the festival, we’ll decide what to do from there, depending on what you find out.”
“Okay,” said Victoria, “when do we leave?”
“You can have a few hours to eat breakfast, rest, and discuss your strategy,” said Fyora, “but after that I would like you to head out immediately. One of my spies will escort you to Meridell. She will have arranged a place for you to stay and created aliases for you.”
The meeting was quickly adjourned, and the faeries were led to another room for breakfast. Fyora then called Petrici into the conference room.
“Your four students will be absent for an indeterminable length of time,” Fyora explained to her, “and I’ll need you to be discreet about where they’ve gone. Inform their teachers of their absence, but give them no details, and tell them not to mention it to their students. You’ll need to inform Victoria’s parents, and Hortensia’s, since they both have siblings at the academy who will notice their absence, but don’t tell anyone else unless absolutely necessary.”
“I understand,” said Petrici quickly.
“One more thing,” said Fyora. “I’ve been informed that several academy students, including twin light faeries named Harmony and Melody, attended the opening of the Faerie Magic Festival in Meridell two weeks ago. I need you to keep an eye out for these students, and report anything suspicious back to me. It could be perfectly innocent, but I have reason to believe that they may have made a dangerous acquaintance at the festival.”
“All right,” said Petrici, “I’ll keep an eye on them.”
When the four faeries finished breakfast, they packed the bags Hentoff had once given them with everything they would need for the trip. Hortensia still had a bag of Neopoints Hentoff had given them that they’d never used; Fyora added a considerable amount of Neopoints so that they could buy anything they might need. Bernadette packed the list of contacts Hentoff had given her, in case they needed help from any of Hentoff’s friends. They met briefly with Fyora once more; the Faerie Queen placed the transportation spell on their magic charms, and taught them how use the mirrors.
After replacing the charms in their bags and adding the mirrors as well, they were ready to go. Fyora escorted them out a side door of the palace, where another royal carriage waited for them.
When the carriage landed in Meridell, they were greeted by one of Fyora’s spies, a small green Ixi who introduced herself as Elaina. Elaina led them to a small inn, where she had booked two rooms for them under their new aliases. She handed each of them false identification, including passes to the Faerie Magic Festival, which was being held in the far northeast corner of Illusen’s Glade. Elaina also left them with contact information if they needed her. Finally, she gave them the names and descriptions of the magicians they were supposed to be following.
“One last thing,” she said briskly as she turned to go. “Stay within eyesight of each other, but pretend not to know each other. Seeing such different types of faeries walking together is rare enough that, if Imagen has any spies nearby, they’ll recognize you. You might try a few disguises, but keep it simple. You want to look natural. Remember, you’re supposed to be faeries with rich families who attend the festival every year. Good luck,” she added, and left.
“Well, what are we going to do now?” asked Hortensia.
“I guess we should set out for the festival,” Bernadette said. Hortensia and Bernadette left their room first; Clarisse and Victoria waited several minutes before leaving their room. Together they flew through the afternoon sky, heading for the Glade.
None of them noticed when they passed a small starry Draik in a magician’s cloak hurrying out of Meridell Castle. In his hand was a small magic mirror, which showed the face of a rather familiar, excited light faerie.
“We’ve found something good for you this time, Drake,” the light faerie said. “We’ve found the prophecy.”
To be continued...